I just got back from the follow up workshop and thought I would share my experience with the UKPT workshops and my journey to starting to overcome my paruresis.
Firstly I thought I would describe a bit about the place I was at before taking the beginner's workshop less than 2 months ago. Over a roughly 4-5 years period I had let paruersis go from mild to severe through a pattern of avoidance, self denial and secrecy. I had gone from being able to pee fine in cubicles in public with no major worries to almost completely avoiding public toilets. I had got to the point where I was unable to pee in a cubicle with one person present in the toilet or even the anticpation of people coming in. I also struggled in my own home with people present. This obviously started to control my life in a very negative way with me going out less, leaving events early, staying at home lots and holding my bladder on countless occasions etc.
Finally I decided I had to do something and told my parents and closest friend. Getting rid of total secrecy and signing on to the beginner's workshop are what set improvement in motion. Although on the beginner's workshop I had a tough time at first given my severity through one to one work with the workshop leaders I was still able to progress and felt a lot better after it about paruresis. However what was really important was it taught me the tools and mindset to get a lot better. Also meeting people with paruresis and hearing everybody's experiences and advice was invaluable. By putting into practice and being persistant with the advice from the workshop over the next 7 weeks I was able to start peeing again in cubicles in a variety of situations and places. I also managed to pee in front of my hugely supportive girlfriend who I had only told as a result of doing the beginner's workshop.
On my follow up workshop this weekend I was able to pee at a urinal with a guy in view a metre away. By no means does this make me cured and I can still struggle in many situations with cubicles. However the most important thing I learnt from both workshops is it is possible to improve significantly with persistance and gradual steps. I also found it was again invaluable to meet other people with this problem and get advice from the workshop leaders, who are truly excellent. I also liked that the follow up workshop is quite relaxed and geared towards practicing to handle situations you struggle with currently.
If you are reading this and wondering whether you should do the beginner's workshop do it!!!! And if you already know the drill I ensure you the follow up is very useful. What I found most useful is to apply/practice the workshop tools in some kind of situations you are just about comfortable with everyday. And really try to reverse your safety behaviours but again at a comfortable rate.
Lastly I would like to thank imensely the workshop leaders Andrew, Ian and Jonathan for setting in motion the changes in my behaviour and mindset that is quickly changing my life with each passing week that I practice,